Today in Boston by Ethan Underhill: 4/3/1855 — The Instigator 💥

Trolling white supremacy is an international pastime. But it’s a lot older than you’d think.

See, before Will “Egg Boy” Connolly egged a far-right Australian senator in the wake of the Christchurch shooting;

Before Patricia “Lady Liberty” Okoumou climbed the Statue of Liberty to protest this Administration’s immigration policies;

Before Acting Attorney General Sally Yates refused to defend Executive Order 13769 —

There was the Reverend Theodore Parker, a Boston Unitarian minister and abolitionist who incited the hell out of one of the most benevolent riots this city has ever seen.

And much like the heroes that would follow him, Teddy Parker had to face the consequences when today in Boston, 1855, the Rev stood on trial for the deed.

See, as a liberal Transcendentalist theologian who vibed hard with the likes of Ralph Emerson, Parker was no friend of the Compromise of 1850 and its corresponding Fugitive Slave Act, which stated that slaves who had escaped were subject to return (see @todayinboston 2/15).
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Reverend Parker referred to the FSA as “a hateful statute of kidnappers” and encouraged white folks to counteract its enforcement through organizations like the Boston Vigilance Committee. Ultimately, he worked with and helped maintain freedom for countless fugitive slaves.

One spring day in 1854, Parker got to preaching outside of, where else, Faneuil Hall, where Boston got so Boston’d up that a riot over slavery started in the streets.

When the case went before a courtroom a year later, Parker’s defense boiled down to:

“Are you kidding me? There are people who think it’s their God-given right to hold other people as property, and you’re pissed at me for spilling the truth all over Quincy Market? Defying the Fugitive Slave Act is as American as it gets.” #micdrop

From there, well, the presiding judge saw this trial turning into a debate about slavery at large, and he didn’t want to touch it with a 10-foot pole.

So, he dropped the case and Ted Parker walked out to keep the abolitionist debate alive and well.

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